If time travel were possible, I have no doubt future beings would have already traveled back in time to warn us about the dangers of reality TV. In their dystopian future, this scourge had no doubt reduced the sum of humanity to a screaming, writhing form of idiocy that parades around in ragged, wedgied underwear. After a passionate speech from the time travelers delivered to a packed UN assembly, mankind would be rallied into definitive action. I believe there would have been massive trials where early reality TV personalities, like all those obnoxious pricks on the "Real World," were found guilty of crimes against humanity and then thrown into a vat of molten ore. Instead realty TV has flourished, and each week people line up to see "real people" thrown into "real situations," such as competing in a tournament to win a record contract against other "real people." The only way to win in these real situations is to be more marketable, which is a goal we are taught to foster at an early age.
The reason I mention reality TV is because I think it has contributed a great deal to the growing stupidity of this world. In fact, I wonder how we are still able to function. I'm reminded of this fact when I look at AOL Television's "Greatest American" spectacle. Like most American things, this list was actually inspired by a mistake the British made first. The whole idea of trying to come up with a list of the 100 greatest people in a country is no doubt a formidable challenge, if not a really bad exercise in subjectivity. When you think about American history and great Americans, imagine the challenge of having to narrow down the list of founding fathers, revolutionaries, politicians, military figures, journalists, educators, inventors, writers, artists, and scientists to a mere 100, carefully evaluating each person on criteria of importance, historical context, and so on. Well, that proved too difficult, so the AOL geniuses that made this list picked maybe 20 worthy people and filled the rest with the first 80 names to be mentioned on CNN Headline News and "MTV Cribs" that day.
Only a society of idiots could pick such a lousy representation of American greatness. This convinces me that something is at fault, and I'm going to blame it on reality TV destroying people's brains. Truthfully, if I told you the real reasons why we are so stupid I would most certainly get in trouble from the NSA (hint: high tension power lines). This list has almost no substance, and mirrors the prevailing culture of stupidity currently strangling western civilization like an abusive husband strangles his dumb, good-for-nothing wife. Here are but a few of the 100 candidates that are actually in the running for the supreme title of "Greatest American":
Dr. Phil McGraw
There is really only one rational response to this and it involves blood spraying out of your eyeballs. If these people are in the running for "Greatest American," then we are in an awful lot of trouble as a nation. I mean impending doom kind of trouble. And I'm not even counting the already impending doom; I'm talking a whole new kind of impending doom that's a proprietary kind of doom resulting from the absolute horror contained in this dreadful list! Granted, this is an arbitrary ranking with no real value. If this was the 1980s, I have no doubt this list would be about the 100 Greatest American Hairstyles, with George Washington coming in 47th place behind an armada of new wave faggots. It burns my britches to think that some of these rotten slimebags are actually being considered for the title of "Greatest American," whereas a whole lot of important historic figures are nowhere on the radar. If you're going to go to the trouble of determining the greatest American, you might as well have some integrity about it or just call it something else, such as "The Tom Cruise Greatest American Celebrity Invitational."
Angry, bitter, and betrayed, I set out to create my own list of WORTHY Americans. I'm not going to come up with 100 people, because I don't know of that many Americans. Instead, I'm going to simply come up with a listing of what I believe are the top ten most important people in American history. I think you'll find my list is rich in a little something called substance, which is the chief ingredient in credibility. Also I just discovered I can make words bold, so I'm taking this update to a new level.
KITT, short for Knight Industries Two Thousand, is one of America's most daring and unorthodox crime fighters. Okay, obviously we have to establish some ground rules for my list. I'm allowing cars to be included, on the grounds that they are celebrity cars. KITT, the talking car from Knight Rider, should not be disqualified from consideration solely on the basis that he is not human. Does being a car make his heroic acts any less heroic? America has always stood as a melting pot of people of all races and cultures, and we should not be so quick as to exclude automobiles as equals in special cases. KITT is certainly a special car, driving mankind to new frontiers of justice.
9. Dr. Henry H. Holmes
If we look at modern trends, one of the most popular is serial killing. Let's go back to the beginning and honor one of the original greats. Herman Mudgett, or Dr. H. H. Holmes, was a true pioneer of the field. Not only did he kill an awful lot of women, he did so in grand, theatric fashion. He built himself his own serial killing headquarters, featuring an elaborate series of windowless rooms he would lock women in, complete with vents to release knockout gas. He even had his own room for dissecting his victims in the basement, and he'd often sell the corpses for a tidy sum for use in medical schools. Times were much different back then, and Holmes operated in daring fashion. In 1893, he opened up his psychotic murder palace to the public to cash in on the Columbian Exposition, although he didn't advertise it as a "psychotic murder palace" for legal reasons. He still killed a lot of people regardless. Over 100 years later, Electronic Arts would attempt to capitalize on H. H. Holmes' methods in the game "The Sims," which allows players to build elaborate, windowless houses where they can imprison and torture neighbors. Let's give some credit where credit is due.
8. Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln is the greatest American President because he single handedly defeated slavery, one of the most nefarious Communist plots ever conceived. Abe Lincoln also took a bullet for this country, which is more than you can say for most people currently listed on AOL's Top 100 Greatest Americans. Unfortunately, the bullet that hit Lincoln was a pretty good one that was shot pretty hard and aimed pretty well. Lincoln was mortally wounded while sitting down for what he believed in at Ford's Theatre, which was a car factory or something. Today his memory lives on, providing quality filler material for lackluster lists throughout the world.
7. The Ultimate Warrior
In the world of professional wrestling, there is no one greater than Jim Hellwig, or "The Ultimate Warrior" as he is known to most. Tragically, he was nearly robbed of his fame and fortune by the dangerous voodoo master Papa Shango, who used vile magics to cast a spell on Warrior that made him throw up a lot. Warrior demonstrated that the American spirit is stronger than the forces of black magic, and overcame the sickness with incredible strength. Unfortunately, this incident destroyed Warrior's psyche, leaving him as nothing more than a crazy, racist lunatic. Nonetheless, we must not forget who he was and what he once stood for: American Greatness.
6. Jethro Bodine
Although a fictional character, Jethro Bodine of the "Beverly Hillbillies" is important simply for the insights he offers into the human condition. Bodine acts as an outsider, exploring the opulent, aristocratic world of Beverly Hills, ultimately becoming an evolving parody of the absurdity that surrounds him. Through Bodine, a grown man with a child's education, we are exposed to the rituals and foibles of the ruling elite. Jethro's fascination with spys and espiaonage highlighted the common man's desire to participate in the cladestine dealings shaping the world, while his swinging bachaelor phase seemingly forecasted the decadent decades to follow, an era scarred by the emergence of the AIDS virus.
5. Tom DeLay
Because of a technicality, I cannot include Jesus Christ on this list. I have no choice but to put the most moral, decent person I know of on this list instead, and that man is Tom Delay (R – TX). Without DeLay's dam-like stance on morality, our country would be ruled by a shadowy cabal of abortionist, activist judges, and pregnant teenagers with no intention of carrying their pregnancies to term. Is that the kind of world you want to live in? Because when the dam breaks, it won't be a threat. It will be a reality. You want a life raft you say? All the life rafts have holes in them – holes made by reckless and wanton homosexuals.
Detroit, Michigan is the birthplace of human misery. In that corrupt hellhole, crime is the way of life and good living is an abstract notion. The city is a veritable Sodom and Gomorrah and the only thing keeping it safe is a cop named Alex Murphy, or Robocop, as he is better known. Throughout his beat, he has fought off corrupt corporate businessmen, ninjas, drug dealers, arms dealers, and regular criminals alike. In Robocop's narrow perspective, the only thing that matters is upholding the law, protecting the people, and serving the public trust. In an age of corruption, we must look upon Robocop's example of moral decency and use it as a torch to light the dark caves of the future.
3. Tie: McGruff the Crime Dog and Smokey the Bear
Although much maligned for his alleged homosexual relationship with Woodsy the Owl, Smokey the Bear has been a stalwart figure in championing fire safety. Smokey has fought tooth and claw against the ravages of forest fires, which threaten not just his home and livelihood, but the homes and livelihoods of all bears. Smokey, a controversial figure and outspoken proponent of euthanasia, is not without his critics, who claim he is merely waging a shadowy war against humankind. Regardless of your views on Smokey, he is most certainly the first person you think about when a forest fire breaks out.
McGruff may not look like a friendly character, but look past the droopy ears and trench coat and you'll see a real American hero. He fights a harsh battle against drug lords, rapists, sadists, pedophiles, murders, thieves, and bullies. Not surprisingly, this gruesome war against the darkest recesses of the human spirit has left him a battered old hound, riddled with scars and guilt. We cannot let his sacrifices be forgotten.
2. Terri Schiavo
If there were a beauty pageant for brain dead vegetables, Terri Schiavo would win. Not because of her inner beauty, because that was all dead and turned to mush even before she died, and certainly not because of her outer beauty, but because of what other people say she stood for in her non-life. If you judge her purely on these merits, she was a golden god. Terri was and still is two sides of a very morbid coin. One side believed she was the poster child for the right-to-life movement, which I guess likes to prevent people from going to heaven through the aid of scientific machines, and the right-to-die movement, which just wants to kill fucking everybody for little or no reason. I have no doubt that Terri Schiavo is at peace in that persistent vegetative state in the sky, but the memories of the things she didn't actually do will live on for generations to come.
1. General Lee
When it comes to a raw embodiment of the American spirit, there is none greater than The General Lee, the prolific 1969 Dodge Charger from "The Dukes of Hazard." Adorned with the Confederate Flag, this car went well beyond reminding the country that "the South will rise again." The General Lee doesn't just rise again and again, it sores over land, sea, and air. This car is America. It is American awesomeness on wheels and with doors that don't open so you have to climb through the windows.
I'd like to think the criminals responsible for AOL's Greatest Americans list read this update and weep – weep knowing the opportunity they squandered pandering to pop culture idiots and dumb first ladies. Upon review, my top ten list includes two cars, a cyborg, and two safety mascots. I think that represents a broader cross-section of America than the whole of AOL's 100 Greatest Americans list. It also shows an eye for the future while maintaining a strong grasp on the accomplishments of past heroes. That's something I consider very important.
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